May 15, 2015

My first Duathlon

Transilvania Cross Duathlon was my first duathlon and it was a though one. I never trained specifically for a duathlon, I've never run after  or before a bike ride, but it was in my bucket list for a few years now. 

It was a very hard race but I felt good and aside from some small mistakes everything went ok. And I had a lot of fun especially on the downhill of the bike course (I got a new pair of tires and I will write about it soon).

I picked up the timing chip and the race numbers a day before the race so I arrived at the course about 40 minutes before the race. I left the bike and my stuff in the transit zone and left for a very short warm up. I tested all my setup, my racing clothes and the bike with the new tires but I didn't test how much will my phone wobble in my back pocket. This was a big mistake because it wobbled too much so I knew that I will have to run with the phone in my hand again. This wasn't such a big problem because I am used to running like that, it is just a small setback, especially in trail running. I thought that I know the course well enough and I will recover some time on the bike. 

The start was fast but not fast enough because the trail wasn't wide enough and I couldn't pass the others like I wanted. Soon the trail cleared up, I passed a lot of people and I could run in my own rhythm the two laps (about 5 km). I was passing people all the time, and just before the end of the run I eat my second gel (the first I had eaten just before leaving the transit zone before the start). I was the first time when I had to change equipment in a race so I made some small mistakes. I run passed my bike so I lost a few seconds and I should have run with my bike gloves or I should have carried them in my back pocket. 

The first transition was  a bit slow but once I got on my bike I was back in the race. I knew the course very well and the adrenaline helped me to be even faster. I passed 3 or 4 people on the first descent. Then on the first climb I lost all my followers, although I wasn't so fast, and then I raced alone. I made another mistake before the end of the first lap, I lost my bottle. I was lucky that a photographer picked it up, and I yelled that he should give it back in the next lap. 

I completed one more lap, without water, passing a few more contenders and paying more attention to the details of the track. There was a steep section, which I climbed in training when it was dry and I tried to climb it on the bike in the first lap but it was too slippery, I had fast but not grippy tires on the back, so in the second and third lap I was prepared to jump off the bike and run up the hill. I completed the second lap of 6 kilometers pretty fast but I had to stop to get my bottle back. The photographer wasn't prepared to give it back so I lost a few minutes but at least I could eat another gel. While I stopped a guy from a relay passed me, that was the only time somebody passed me on the bike course. 

The last bike lap went ok, I was tired but I still passed a few people, and even handed my tools to a guy who broke his chain. After finishing the lap my muscles from my legs were so tense that I barely managed to jump off the bike where a referee was signaling. The second time I payed more attention to were my stuff was in the transit zone and I put down my bike very fast, threw down my helmet and glasses and the gloves. I changed my shoes very fast and got my phone case. The first few meters went very good. I manged to put my phone on my hand and my legs were cheering, from the impact with the ground, my sore muscles were getting a gentle massage. 

Everything was fine until the first climb. I walked a little bit and than grinding my teeth I started running for another 10 minutes. When I started hearing he noise from the finish line I got some extra power and I started preparing for crossing the finish line. When I got out from the forest I heard my family cheering so I passed the finish line with a big smile.

I finished in 1:52:26 and I was very happy that this hard race was over. I found out after about an hour that I arrived in second place in my age group so I was ecstatic. On the downhill from the zoo into the city I was so happy, it was a great satisfaction. All that hard work, all those hard trainings, all that thinking and preparations and all that money invested in the equipment just paid off.

I was happy when I saw the final result that I could have gotten first place with a little more preparation ( I was still a bit tired after the semi marathon) and this was finally a race where no girl passed me, not even the pros :)

I hope I can race duathlons again and will have at least the same result.
running
please let me pass you :)
flying
at the time I didn't know that I was showing my position :)
the joy of the finish line
on the podium
shaking the hand of a legend

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